The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second largest paper, has been banned from social networking platform Weibo, which serves as the heavily-censored Chinese version of Twitter to 513 million users.
The paper’s account was popular among Weibo users, with hundreds of thousands of followers and an average of 91 shares per posts, but suddenly disappeared on July 17th. A social media editor for the paper later wrote that they had received “Instructions from above.”
We assume this is not meant in the same way George Bush claimed he received instructions from above.
No reason has been given by the evil overlords of the Chinese internet, but netizens have speculated that it could be due to recent, seemingly inoffensive article on opaque institutions, territorial disputes between China and Japan or even the account’s popularity itself. As one Weibo user speculated, “Some people want the Chinese public to hate Japan, but Asahi Shimbun makes Chinese people hate Japan less, therefore…” Demonising Japan to deflect attention from the government’s own issues of corruption and human rights abuses is a long-standing tactic of the Chinese Communist Party and it’s possible the Asahi Shimbun’s quiet removal is a part of this strategy.
Other notable accounts to be banned from Weibo include The New York Times, after they revealed Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s almost impressive levels of moral bankruptcy and corruption, and the U.S. consulate in Shanghai, for reasons unknown. Britney Spears, however, is still allowed to share her wisdom with the Chinese people.
Via: Tea Leaf Nation